press conference

Long Beach Community Calls on Amazon, Port Leadership to End Ship Pollution

August 31, 2021 Climate and Environmental Justice Groups, Mothers, Students, and Youth push Amazon to Abandon Fossil Fuel Ships and Commit to 100% Zero-Emissions Ships in Port by 2030.

Climate and Environmental Justice Groups, Mothers, Students, and Youth push Amazon to Abandon Fossil Fuel Ships and Commit to 100% Zero-Emissions Ships in Port by 2030

LONG BEACH, CA On the final day of August, climate and environmental justice groups, public health organizations, mothers, students, and youth hosted a press conference to mark the end of another exceptionally polluting month at the San Pedro Bay Port Complex and call on Amazon to stop polluting their communities. Attendees united behind the demands of the new Ship It Zero campaign, calling on Amazon to abandon dirty ships immediately and use only zero-emission ships when they call the San Pedro Ports by no later than 2030.

Against a backdrop of a long line of heavily polluting cargo ships and hazy ocean smog, speakers at the press conference called for immediate commitments actions by Amazon, the world’s largest e-commerce company and a main driver behind the changes in shopping patterns that clogging up U.S. ports, to transition their products off of fossil fueled ships. Community groups also called on Executive Directors of the San Pedro Ports, Gene Seroka and Mario Cordero, to end ship pollution.

Los Angeles and Long Beach community members were moved to take this action by findings of Pacific Environment and STAND.Earth’s recently released Shady Ships report, which showed that Amazon and other major retailers ocean shipping pollutes port communities with harmful pollutants that contribute to high rates of asthma, cancer, and premature death. Community  members and shoppers want their voices heard by Amazon that the time for healthy, long-living port communities and large-scale climate action is now. 

Concurrently in Seattle, Ship It Zero campaign coalition member STAND.Earth delivered a petition containing almost 20,000 signatures from shoppers supporting clean shipping demands at Amazon Headquarters in Seattle. 

“San Pedro Bay Port complex communities experience eight years lower life expectancy than the Los Angeles County average, in no small part due to heavily polluting cargo ships. In addition, fossil-fueled ships contribute to climate change, with global warming projected to reach up to 10°F by 2100. We call on Amazon to lead the way — not in space exploration, but in immediately protecting environmental health and justice.” said Daniel Hamidi, Ship It Zero Campaign Lead with Pacific Environment.

Ship It Zero is bringing awareness to the often overlooked reality that companies like Amazon rely on fossil fueled ships to transport goods, emitting as much as 390,000 metric tons of CO2 – a truly staggering number. As the home of the busiest seaport in the Western Hemisphere, it is imperative that Los Angeles lead the way in transitioning to 100% zero-emission shipping, much as we’re doing with transitioning to 100% zero-emission vehicles. I am proud to support Ship It Zero in their campaign to combat hazardous pollutants and ensure we are doing everything in our power to create healthy, breathable port communities.” said Nithya Raman, Los Angeles City Councilmember.

“Freighters and other ocean-going ships are among the largest sources of carcinogenic diesel particulate matter in Southern California. While this affects the health and lives of everyone in the region, the burden falls heaviest on low-income earners and people of color. There is no time to spare: we must transition away from diesel to bring clean air to Southern California, especially for our most vulnerable communities.” said Chris Chavez, Deputy Policy Director at Coalition for Clean Air.

“There are solutions within reach, like green hydrogen. We need companies like Amazon to invest in solutions that consider the public health impacts of their ships to residents, especially the Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities surrounding the ports,” said Natalie Hernandez, Associate Director, Climate Planning & Resilience at Climate Resolve.

“It is unfair to Long Beach citizens to suffer at the hands of greenwashing. To see a new average of 30 container ships anchored on our shores daily is to see the acidity within our closed port and carbon emissions within our atmosphere increase. Growing up in Long Beach, I do not remember the skies looking the same way they do now, especially overlooking Signal Hill.” said Melanie Larsen, a student at California State University, Long Beach and a member of the CSULB Environmental Science and Policy Club.

Speakers at the event were from Wilmington-based Coalition for a Safe Environment, Coalition for Clean Air, BREATHE Southern California, Climate Resolve, Move LA, California Youth Versus Big Oil, California State University, Long Beach Environmental Science and Policy Club, and Pacific Environment. Additional co-sponsors of the event included Long Beach-based East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, Mothers Out Front, UCLA E3: Ecology, Economy, Equity, and Sierra Club.


About Ship It Zero

Ship It Zero is calling on the largest maritime importers and most well-known corporations to move their products off fossil-fueled vessels, use their market power to accelerate the zero-emission vessel market, and transition to 100 percent zero-emissions shipping by 2030 — goals that will ensure the shipping industry does its fair share in helping to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius, the target scientists say is needed to avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis.

About Pacific Environment

Pacific Environment is a global environmental organization that protects communities and wildlife of the Pacific Rim. We support community leaders to fight climate change, protect the oceans, build just societies, and move away from fossil fuels toward a green economy.